My order (after all)

After Marilyn found me my bra before it sold out (thanks again!) I decided to stock up on gear and added the Ecco sneaker bootie (good colour, style, and brand for me) plus I'm trying a Rails shirt. 

There were other items I'd have liked (undies!) and things on the US site that appealed, but they weren't available in Canada or not in my size and I figure a good alternative will pop up if I really need it. 

I do like the Zella workout gear as well as the more pricey Lulu stuff and more than the MPG stuff I tried a year and a half ago. So hopefully these will suit my purposes. 

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No NAS for me: ETA got a bra- thanks, Marilyn!

Last year I had the BEST NAS. This year, no NAS. Oh well. 

The online options in Canada opened up today and they are (essentially) nil. The website seems disorganized (showing sale stuff with regular stuff even when you apply filters). It is frustrating to use and even when you work it out, you find, for instance, that there are NO sale handbags online in Canada.

Most items they supposedly offer online are already sold out. And this is the first day of the online sale here.  I'm not able to shop in person where I live. 

It's okay. I don't need anything, really, but I was hoping at least to stock up on my basics (Natori Feathers bra, etc.) I do that every year. 

I do understand. These are terrible times for retail and it wasn't the best year to launch a new feature/ site for Canadians. It's too bad, though. 

ETA: They now have an announcement on the site that they are having technical difficulties and most items are not yet showing as available. (DUH!!! -- there were only 76 items total offered in the online sale when I looked 10 minutes ago!)

And thanks to Marilyn, I got a bra!! Yay!

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Last of my NAS

I got my final package today from the NAS. I have a couple of keeps, a comparison (will keep one item and return the other), and one item I'm not sure about. 

The Keeps: undies (yay!), a pair of BP joggers for sleep/lounge in winter, and the Blondo Elvina snake print bootie. Love them! 

The Comparison item: The Pendleton rain jacket in navy. I bought the green in Seattle, which is what they had on the floor. It's a changeup colour for me, quite flattering, but I suspect I may tire of it or find it harder to wear with my other things. So I ordered the navy to compare. I am currently in Kingston so I will have to take this one back to Vancouver (where the green coat is) and put them on side by side. Definitely keeping one; I just don't know which. Sorry you can't see the green to compare. It is not as teal as in the Find. More of an 80s forest green. 

The Maybe: VB trousers. They are a lovely, lovely pant. I think this is the right size but at the moment, they are on the snug side of tailored for me. Waist is good as are the hips and the rise feels fine, but the pockets don't lie completely flat. I'm not sure what I think of that. It's more noticeable on one side than the other and of course they poof a bit when you sit, as well. Sitting is comfortable, though. I would have to get them shortened, too, I think, unless they are ok as an ankle pant. Would love your thoughts. I've shortened one side in the pics to see them more as crops. 

Whatever I decide on these items, I've had a GREAT NAS. Thanks, Angie, for making it so fun and thanks the rest of you for joining in and offering your cheers and thoughts! 

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Vancouver Report #2

I went to the Vancouver store today because I happened to be downtown and wanted to know if they were planning to stock the Elvina Blondo in snake print or whether I should order from the US. Turns out they will *not* be stocking them in Canada and they are not on the Blondo Canada site, so I took the precaution of ordering from the US. I know this is a style and pattern I will wear into the ground, so it's worth it to me. 

A few observations -- the store was quiet, as Ariadne noted. Excellent customer service. They didn't have a ton of stock left, but certain things remained in volume. The fringey Halogen jacket that Angie bought filled half a rack. 

I *did* see the Eileen Fisher black jeans there in store, and on sale. I didn't note the price, sorry. But they exist -- if you're in Canada, just call.  

I also saw the Madewell jeans I had wanted and was able to get them in my size. ;) 

No Leith cardigans in my size, no Avec les Filles red (or black, or any colour) coats. 

No Veronica Beard fancy blazer. 

No 1 State checkered jacket like mine at all! 

I also got a pair of Zella leggings. :) And a pair of those BP joggers that Ariadne mentioned. Perfect loungewear. (Thanks!!) 

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Cancelled my red coat! :(

Sob!! 

I will keep stalking. I just took on an extra contract to pay for this extravaganza shop. I want my stuff!!! :)

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Suz/NAS: the update

Of course you knew I'd head back to the flagship one more time before leaving Seattle, right? Hehehehe....

I spent an hour in the store on my own without the Shopping Goddess, and what a fascinating experience!

First, now that I've done it both ways, I'm convinced: If I had gone there alone in the first place, without having spent time at the sale with her, I'm not sure I'd have walked away with anything. Granted, by yesterday, things were very picked over. It is late in the early access period, and nothing had been re-stocked yet. Even in a very well maintained store (we are not talking Zara here!) it was difficult to find the gems amid the chalk dust.

Undaunted, I kept going, because I actually had a few errands to run. There was a small pull in my 1-State blazer that we had not noticed. The SA suggested she take it to alterations and it was a quick fix. Yay!  

Also, I'd decided to return the very cool but not-quite-right moto trench. The no-2-way zip thing was a bit of a deal breaker for me, I'm afraid, and also, the coat wasn't quite what I needed, which was basically a piece of good-looking and slightly more stylish gear to wear for walks in the woods but also into town when weather conditions demand.

Returns made, I scoured the aisles for a few more items I'd been seeking. Lo and behold, I came upon this Pendleton raincoat with a lovely Black Watch lining. Tried it on -- it fits a bit small (rare for Pendleton, I am guessing). Or at least I took a S rather than an XS and the reason was my hips and shoulders. In any case, I quite liked it, so I held onto it until Angie could take a look at it and approve. (You would not believe how stinking cute she looked in this coat -- the SAs were falling all over themselves trying to get her to buy it. An XS was a bit loose but a decent fit on her.)

What's really nice about this coat is the princess seaming in the back -- it gives you a bit of waist definition without any cinching. There are lots of pockets. It is fully waterproof with taped seams, beautifully finished with that gorgeous cozy lining and lined pockets, the hood is not too large—it's altogether a high quality product at only $40 more than the first coat, so I exchanged the moto for this.

I got it in the green, which looks entirely different from the stock photo. It is not teal but rather a deep forest green -- yes, a bit blue-toned but definitely green, not blue.

Having come home, though, I see it is also available in navy. So I ordered it in that colour to compare. Green is a fun pop of colour for me and a bit unexpected (and it looked really nice and I liked it -- that type of forest green says "80s" to me, and 80s was the theme of "my" NAS).  But there is no question that blue works more seamlessly in my closet and might feel a bit less "gear-ish." So I'm going to compare. I will return one of them. 

I also looked at a long grey sweater to replace my extremely pilled and ratty (yet deeply beloved) long grey cardigan. The Halogen wool/cashmere blend is quite lovely but who can say how it will pill? Plus, it is pricey. And I was really hoping for a slightly lighter grey tone with a bit more white in it. We tried for the Leith -- but no luck--and it is out of stock online now in my size as well. Such is life. I'll keep an eye out, but no rush. These things pop up at retail all the time.

My other in-store purchase was a wild card bag! I'd told Angie I was in the market for a new bag, mid size and structured since most of my bags are so soft and unstructured. I had no idea what this bag would or should look like, but I won't carry a bag in my hand (needs to be shoulder or cross body) and I need a bit of room for my many things. 

This Coach won my heart the minute I saw it. Such soft leather but such solid structure!! Such a pretty shape! Fits under the arm so easily and can also be carried cross-body! So light weight! Gunmetal (not gold) hardware. The mustard is a total wild card for me but I think it works really well with my inks/ navies, reds/ greys. 

The bag also comes in a gorgeous saddle colour, BTW. 

That was it for the in store purchases. 

Thanks to JAileen and Angie, I've also been able to order two items online that were out of stock earlier: the red midi coat and the VB cropped pants. 

Last but not least, I ordered my undies. 

I am waiting on the Blondos. I'm going to see if they stock them in Canada. Since they're not part of the sale, I don't think they will sell out in the US before I'm ready to order, and there's no real rush on this item. I do intend to get them, though. 

And then, my friends, I'm done!! I've decided not to stalk the VB jacket -- much as I love it, the cheaper 1-State is going to fill a similar function and I really don't need two checked jackets for fall. Unless the stars align and it simply throws itself into my shopping cart at a vastly reduced price at some point, I'm good. 

What a terrific sale I've had and how much Iearned in the process! Thanks Angie, and thank you all for reading along!

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NAS with Angie: the Process

Hi, all -- this will be my last NAS post for a few days. As soon as I'm able I will show you stylings of the things I chose and add more photos. For now, since some of you asked, a description of the in-store process. 

Anyone who's had the pleasure of meeting Angie knows she is an organized, efficient, and extremely upbeat person who does not waste a minute! She planned it all down to the last detail so that in the moment I was only conscious of having fun and getting a real jumpstart on my fall wardrobe.

In advance, she asked me for a list of things I was NOT looking for. I gave her that, along with a smaller list of items I really wanted or needed, if the sale goddesses deigned to provide. We agreed that we wouldn't look at active wear, undies, accessories (beyond bags and footwear) etc. because I felt I could spend the time with her more productively on core wardrobe items and she agreed. But some clients do ask for assistance in those areas and she does provide it. 

She didn't exactly pre-select items specifically for me...but considering that our tastes do overlap and knows that, she kindly kept some of her own purchases in the dressing room for me to look at and suggested try-ons, particularly of those items that had already sold out. That was very helpful, because at least I got a sense of fit and proportion and could guesstimate what size I might need in the item, should I want it and should it come back into stock. 

Once we'd looked at those things, she spirited me around the store, so fast I hardly dared to blink because whenever I did, I lost sight of her! The other shoppers must have got a kick out of her fluting voice calling "Suz! Suz! Over here!" every couple of minutes. ;)

Shadowing us was a lovely young woman who took things back to the dressing room almost as quickly as we could collect them. As you saw from the photos, we did many try-ons of toppers and sweaters right there on the floor. If something felt good and seemed good in the mirror, we'd take it back to the dressing room to compare it later with other items (and with proper layers beneath in the case of jackets and coats.) 

We travelled floor by floor -- the pricier items first (though several that had appealed to me were already gone in my size or in any size!); the mid-range and "cheap as chips" items next, and then coats. Finally, once we'd scoured the cordoned off sale areas for anything that could potentially work, we headed back to the dressing room for some serious analysis and consideration. 

At first I wondered how I'd ever choose, because we'd liked so much of what we saw on the floor. But in the end, it was a snap. Angie's such a pro at this and can see right away if something has potential. She's also intuitive and quickly grasps if it isn't quite where the client wants to go (even if the client isn't sure one way or another, LOL.)

It probably helps that we've known each other on the forum for years and she's seen so many photos of my outfits and has read about my lifestyle and therefore knows my needs and constraints. But I suspect she's a quick study, regardless.

There were a few items that we both liked but that I left, mainly for reasons of practicality, not being sure it would work for lifestyle/ climate etc. or just not liking it quite as much as something else. And there were a couple that she thought could work and that looked good but that didn't feel to me as if they fit right. But for the most part we agreed on everything and she never pushed me to buy more for the sake of buying more or to take an item that would be a duplicate of something I already have, or to take a pricey item if a less expensive one would fill the need, etc. I felt thoroughly spoiled and supported. 

While we pondered, we sipped on tea and water, and every now and again, Angie would check the forum or dash out for a different top for me to pair with the bottoms, or our helpful assistant would come to take away our rejects. 

Overall, I found that I was more selective during this in-person shop than I am when I shop online. Because I was able to compare right then and there, I had no problems whatever deciding between this good thing and that even better thing, and I am pretty sure I purchased less than I might have if I'd bought online. Meanwhile, I feel more confident and comfortable with what I got and won't face the minor hassle of returns. 

I will still do an order for my basics online and might order the things I couldn't find in store if they happen to restock or I might visit my Canadian store to explore the offerings -- but even if none of that works out, I feel as if I had a fabulous NAS with the items I got and also feel more set for fall than I have ever felt before! It was so fun to load up on new bottoms and some fresh red boots and plaid! :) There is a strong 80s retro feel to several of the items I bought and I'm going with it. Maybe it's a sign I need to revisit that time in my creative work, too, or take some inspiration from it in some way. Fun to ponder. 

There's something so deeply satisfying in watching a person do the work they are made for. To be a part of that process, to be immersed in it with the professional at work, is even better. 

THANK YOU, Angie

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Bottoms

I've nattered more than once on here about being a bit tired of my skinnies and tube skirts narrow on the bottom fallback silhouette. Yes, I need to wear skinnies in winter when the weather is truly awful. Yes, tube skirts have been a literal godsend to me at times. But a person does get tired of the same old, same old. And while I managed to get one great A-line summer skirt last year and 2 nice lightweight culottes this year, I just retired my two wide leg jeans for reasons of fit/ wear and only own one pair of winter culottes. I was really in the market for new trousers and also very open to updated denim. 

A side note: In the past three very stressful years I've gained about 13 pounds. The good part: I can wear some V-necks! I fill out my tops and bras! I could even consider a wrap if it were the right one!

The bad news...I do need to wear a new size on the bottom. I used to wear a 26 and now I wear a 27 in most jeans. 

Anyway. Here is what I tried, what I bought, and what I'm stalking. 

I tried the Madewell Emmett windowpane pant. I'd say these TTS. They are a super fun pant and I'm tempted to go back for them. You can see them on Angie in one of her posts. Unfortunately we forgot to photograph them on me. They were really comfy. They'd be good for someone whose winter is fairly mild, I think, because they are mainly cotton. I wasn't sure I'd reach for them beyond September in my climate and you have to commit to the pattern on the bottom. 

The VB Gemini crop pants were sold out in any size that would remotely fit me but I tried on a really large size just to get the sense of them. GORGEOUSLY made pant, wool, and lined. Super comfortable. A slim but not tight tapered fit like a classic cigarette pant. Very flattering. I am strongly considering these if I can find my size. The pattern is very adaptable -- you could pair it with many different colours. 

The EF boyfriend jean was a surprising hit. I bought a 2, which means they run large, as is typical for EF. They are high waisted but not overly high. If you bought them in your regular size you'd get a baggy BF fit. They are not too tight on my calves but fall nicely. They have some stretch but still feel substantial. And they have white stitching! That's what made them for me. Combined with the grey cuffs, this detailing works well with my hair.

The Madewell high waist slim wide leg button fly is terrific. I had to go up to a 28 in these -- so if you have curvy thighs, size up! They are a more substantial feeling denim, not very stretchy, with a certain amount of heft to them. They'll be a great winter jean. And I don't even have to hem them! They are a bit longer than the length Angie typically recommends but we experimented with them and actually agreed that they looked best as is. So that was easy!

Wild card for me -- something I would not even have tried without Angie -- the Paige bootcuts. These are amazing! Super stretchy (which I usually hate, but didn't, in this case), very streamlined and extremely comfortable. These are the only jeans we got a photo of -- you can see them hemmed for flats here. They are TTS, 

I really wanted to try the Perfect Vintage Madewell side slit jean. Alas, not available in my size. I will be stalking. 

I also wanted to try a fun pair of Halogen tie waist pants but there were none in anything like my size and on consideration, I'd probably find the belt annoying. So that is that for now. 

Happy to answer any questions if I can. Sorry for the paucity of photos -- we really tried but there is a lot of thinking and talking going on in the fitting room so we got a bit distracted. I will show you styled pics as soon as I can. 

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Tops

This one will be very brief because I have almost nothing to say. :) 

I really wasn't in the market for tops or knitwear unless the sale turned out to be an incredible knitwear bonanza. 

That's the emotional part of this process for me. I do go in with ideas about what I don't really need or want, and also ideas about what I'm looking for. But I also play it by ear. Last year I didn't know I was going to buy two dresses, but I did. The sale had some good midi-length dresses and that sort of set the tone. I got dressier booties and shoes to go with the dresses and limited my casual purchases more than usual. 

This year, while I didn't buy any tops, I did try on a few fun items from J. Crew that I may go for later on. The stars t-shirt is adorable. The Breton is a very boxy square cut with dropped shoulders -- it has a distinct 80s feel to it. I really liked it but don't need it immediately and I know J. Crew has good sales of their own. 

Angie also showed me some knit tops she is recommending. Her GORGEOUS peplum (which tempts me but I have to step away because I really don't have a need for this right now). But also, in the cheap and cheerful department, these Halogen ribbed tops, which come in a couple of colourways. They feel like cotton but I think they are actually a blend of some kind. 

She also showed me a few V neck blouse-type items and a few other knits, but I'm afraid I can't offer much insight. I'm sure she will have more to say in her roundup. 


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Footwear reviews and observations

Footwear was our last stop. My only real need this year was a pair of casual boots to replace my worn out silver Elodie platform Chelsea boots. I may make one more purchase, but more on that later. 

As with clothing, plaid and animal print were everywhere. Weatherproof and casual boots and booties are great, and the sneaker selection was fabulous. The sale also includes some great sandals and sandal booties for those in warmer climates. 

I tried on just a few pair of boots/ booties and some sneakers. 

The Pikolinos are "stinking cute," as Angie said, and really comfy. Also very lightweight. I was tempted but felt I only needed one of this type of item and I was completely smitten by the Paul Green tartan lace ups.

I've never owned a pair of Paul Greens but have wanted to for a long time. These are pricey for me, even on sale, but are such a fantastic statement item that I couldn't resist They sing to my late 80s/ early 90s retro fashion gene, without any of the weight of the original Docs. AND they zip up the back so no need to fuss with laces. So there is that. They go by a different sizing system (not US and not EU, weirdly) but anyway, I got the smaller of my 2 sizes. 

I also really loved their sister boot -- the moto buckle up -- but honestly, 2 pair would be overkill. 

The SA brought us the gorgeous taupe Aquatalias to try. Angie said some of her clients found them too narrow. I did not -- for me, they were TTS for Aquatalia, which does run narrower than some brands but not too narrow for my average width forefoot and medium volume foot overall. You can see on Angie they are a gorgeous boot. But they wouldn't work for anyone with a wide or higher volume foot. 

For fun I tried the grey Adidas -- I needed my larger size for those because they run short. They are really cute but I didn't really need them. 

The sneakers at the sale are terrific! Especially the Eccos. They are really featuring those this year, with quite a spread and lots of colourways. I am a longtime Ecco loyalist so I am tempted to get another pair -- I am on my second pair of white Ecco 7s and on my second pair of 8s as well. But I can wait for that. They will go on sale in Canada, too. 

Angie also pointed out quite a lot of dressier flats that she likes. They were too flat for me even to contemplate due to my own fussy foot issues so we just sailed by them with a friendly nod and wave. 

Yesterday, I decided against buying any Blondos at the sale because I can get them cheaper in Canada. But I'm tempted to go back (or order) the Elvinas in snake. I have these boots already in black and taupe and both were absolute workhorses for me last year. I don't know for sure if they will stock this fun colourway in Canada and it might be worth my while to buy now. This print would be brilliant with my hair, and I already know the boot is superb on my foot.

Thoughts? (She says, clearly seeking an enabler!)

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